Fingers Crossed

Good news and bad news this week. The good news is that I had some sewing time this week … I’ll get to the bad news in a minute.

Ever since Anna shared the free pattern for her Tiny Treasures Basket and tray post on her blog I’ve been getting my ducks in a row to sew them up. Here they are !





Anna’s examples are perfection – of course. Mine turned out o.k. but I’d like to think of this set as a practice run and make another set sometime. I made the larger basket first and then, brimming with confidence went ahead and made a mistake on the side seams for the smaller one. I cobbled together a new plan and it still turned out a usable basket. These are a nice size and a fun project; I can really see myself using them around the house.

So, the bad news is – our harvesting efforts have been cut short – hopefully just for now and that we will, eventually, get this years crop in. Late Tuesday night we were combining when it started to rain and that rain turned into snow over night.

This is what we woke up to on Wednesday:


and the snow continued…

the picture on the left is a lilac bush on Wednesday and the picture on the right is the same bush the next day. You can see how the weight of the wet snow is pulling the branches down. The snow will have the same effect with the crops in the field. Our area received a total of 11 inches of snow.


Hopefully the weather will improve and the snow will melt and everything will dry up and we can scrape the crop up out of the field ! Fingers crossed !

Linking up with Amanda for Finish it up Friday.


A quilt finish

It has been awhile since I have had a quilt finish to show you so, without further ado…


I started this quilt well over a year ago as a challenge to myself. The challenge was to choose fabrics from the local fabric store to make a quilt. This probably doesn’t seem like much of a challenge to many quilters but I feel more comfortable buying collections.  My closest fabric store is 35 miles away and isn’t a specialty shop that carries recognizable collections of popular designer quilt fabrics. It is a locally owned chain franchise that has a bit of a discount feel to it. There are a few recognizable fabric manufacturers but you do have to be careful because there are ‘no name’ fabrics whose quality isn’t always great.  The owner of the store is a really nice woman who is truly interested in what her clients make with their purchases and has been a big source of encouragement to me since none of my close friends sew.


Most of the fabric was bought using the “without a plan”method which all the ladies at the store think is crazy ! Now that I have been sewing for a few years and my stacks of fabric seem to be taking over the place… I’m starting to wonder if there may be a better approach to purchasing fabric ! I usually buy the fabric first and then try and find a pattern that will suit the fabric. For this fabric I was inspired by Allison Harris’s  Chippewa Quilt tutorial. I started by cutting 4.5″ squares and made a ridiculous number of different layout options on my design wall. If you are interested you can see a few of them here . After I was satisfied with the layout I took the squares off in numbered rows and they sat for almost a year until I finally felt like doing some mindless chain piecing . Sewing them together was a bit of a mystery quilt project as I had forgotten what the design was !


The quilt measures about 60″ x 60″ and I had it quilted with a panto called “houndstooth”. For the top thread colour I choose coral and the bobbin thread a medium/dark grey. This is the first time I’ve chosen to have two thread colours and am pretty happy with the results.


Here’s a shot of the back:


This isn’t my favourite quilt but I think it turned out O.K. I think each quilt we make teaches us something. This quilt was made in fits and starts over at least 14 months and I do feel I have grown as a quilter during that time.

I have a second finish to show you… our new grain bin is up and in use. Here are a few pictures:



These bins are built from the top down. The roof is put together first and then everything is jacked up and the rings that make up the walls are added one by one.
This picture is a bit grainy as it was taken at night – that’s the moon up in the sky !

My husband and son agreed to stand still for a quick picture to give you a sense of scale.


By the time I had walked back far enough to take the picture my husband was off to the next job ! The red piece of equipment is called an auger .The grain is unloaded off the grain truck and the auger moves it up and into the bin. The tractor is what powers the auger.

Thanks for having a look.

I’ll be linking up with Amanda for Finish It Up Friday.

Amy and Karen

I recently needed a birthday gift to give to a very special person in my life. Having difficulty coming up with an idea; I settled on a combination of handmade and a few little purchased goodies.

I chose an Amy Butler print that I knew she’d like because I  had previously made her this. For the lining I used a Karen Lewis print. The project got off to a rocky start … oops


A little unpicking and re-arranging and I had it done:


I added a few goodies and I think it turned out pretty good.



I hope she likes it !

While I was in pouch making  mode, I also made this little pouch for keeping my eyeglass cleaning solution and microfiber cloth in:



I haven’t been posting much lately because we’ve been busy on our farm with harvest.


The little tractor and grain cart on the right is usually where you find me these days. My daughter was home for the weekend so I was able to take this action shot of them ‘catching on the go’. My husband is operating the combine and is unloading the thrashed grain from the combine hopper while continuing to combine the standing wheat. Catching on the go saves a tremendous amount of time over the course of a season.

Thanks for having a look. Since the Amy Butler fabric is essentially a scrap left over from the insulated lunch bag project, I’ll be linking up with Nicky and Leanne for Scraptastic Tuesday.

Ladies Night

There hasn’t been a whole lot of sewing going on around here but I have been able to squeak out one little project.

I bought a fat quarter of Cotton and Steels “Ladies Night Metallic” from their black and white collection. I was a bit surprised at how small the ladies faces were when the fabric arrived but it is hard to determine scale when shopping online.


I had some fussy cutting in mind for the material and settled on the Prettified Pincushion project in Ayumi Takahashi’s book “Patchwork Please”.


I used “Clover” from the same fabric collection for the side panels. The fabric in between the wedges and on the bottom are both from my local fabric shop.


I enjoyed making this pincushion and will probably keep on the lookout for more fussy cutting opportunities !  The little fabric covered button was a first for me and a little spot of glue on the metal cover really helped hold the fabric in place while I fumbled around getting the backing on.


Thanks for having a look.

I’m linking up with Lorna over at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s Bee Social.





Kitty, Kitty.

A friend of a friend gave me some cats recently. They were barn cats that were given to her by a family that was moving away in hopes that she could find good homes for them. Apparently her acreage has become the muster point for all kinds of animals that, for one reason or another, need new homes. The managery includes dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens ducks, llamas, an ostritch, donkeys, sheep… I forget what else.

Both of the cats were very shy at first but have now warmed up to us and have become a helpful part of the farm. They are very good at keeping the mouse population in check.



They really didn’t want to have their pictures taken. They just wanted to play.

I wanted to call them both Kitty so that when I was looking for them I could just call out; “Hereeee, Kitty, Kitty !” and there wouldn’t be any confusion.

Anyways, I wanted to make a little something for the friend of the friend …


so I made her this kitty potholder. It measures about 8.5″ and I hope she likes it !

The block is from Amy Friend’s lovely book, “Intentional Piecing”

The fabrics are scraps left over from this quilt and this one  so I am linking up with Leanne and Nicky for Scraptastic Tuesday ( even though it’s Wednesday)

Thanks for having a look – hope your week is going well.



Dabbling with Dyes


Recently I’ve been doing some dying with fiber reactive dyes.

The  picture above and the next few below all started with tone on tone fabric from the local fabric shop. I tried a small sample and found that the underlying fabric picked up the dye whereas the printed tone over it did not. If I’ve included a white or light fabric in the picture that is showing what the fabric looked like before the dye bath.





The white dots on the orange-ish fabric are from an experiment with soy wax. There must be different grades of soy wax and this particular wax did not resist as well as it should for use with cold batch dyes.

The next two pictures are printed fabrics from my stash that I over dyed to see what would happen:



Most of the dye samples were quite small but I still wanted to make something with them and so made a couple of pin cushions.


dyed triangles pin cushion


bottom side of above pin cushion


dyed geese and chambray pin cushion

Neither of these pin cushions photographed very well but I’m sure you get the idea.

Then I went on to do some water colour type of painting on some plain cotton. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with these samples. Maybe frame them with a solid fabric and work them into a pouch.



Just in case you are wondering… I have dabbled with dyes on and off for a very long time. When processed properly the fiber reactive dyes are brilliant and permanent and work very well on all natural fibers. They don’t fade, even after repeated washings. They are economical, safe, and easy to use. In my opinion; much better than dylon or rit dyes.

Thanks for having a look.

Enjoy your weekend.

I’m linking up with Fort Worth Fabric Studio for Fabric Frenzy Friday !


You know those vinyl zippered bags that new sheets, mattress pads , tablecloths ect come packaged in ?


Well, I’ve always felt weird about putting them in the recycle bin. I’ve used them for storage of course but always wondered if there wasn’t something else I could do with them. So the other day I got an idea and gave it a try.


See-thru vinyl pouches !

The mattress pad bag came with a two way zipper so I was able to cut down the zipper and use the same zipper on two pouches.


The zipper pull was really ugly but it was easy to cut off and tie on a replacement. For the first two pouches I made my own ‘binding’ out of some stash fabric that goes amazingly well with the opaque vinyl. This fabric has been a ‘problem child’ in the sewing room – that blue does not play well with other blues !

I made a couple of quilt blocks for a baby quilt and am now kinda stuck because I haven’t been able to find more colours to co-ordinate with that blue. Oh well !


The vinyl wasn’t that hard to work with but I found using my clover clips and masking tape very helpful.


I still had lots of vinyl left over so I made a few pouches using some ready made binding – or maybe it’s called bias tape. I used two rows of stitching on each tape; one close to the zipper and the other on the outside edge to make sure the vinyl was secured between the folds.

I had cut my binding fabric strips 2″ and after pressing them in half and then half again I think they were still a bit chunky looking. I think the store bought tape looks a little neater.


Both of these pouches measure approximately 8″x 6″. I had a meter (40″) of each bias tape and only had a few inches left when I was done. I also found out that vinyl is hard to photograph !

In other news: we have been getting a site ready for a new grain bin


That’s my husband tamping down the gravel over where we have installed drainage pipe and there will soon be a large concrete pad poured for the bin floor. It doesn’t look like much but believe me there are a tremendous number of hours involved in getting the foundation ready for a bin that will hold 2,400,400 pounds of wheat or just over 1 thousand metric tonnes.


This is the view from my office… just kidding ! I turned 180 degrees from the last picture and this is the wheat field west of the bin site. We’ve been getting a nice amount of rain this year and the crops are looking good.

Thanks for having a look. Have a lovely weekend.

I’ll be linking up with CrazyMomQuilts for Finish it up Friday.

Wants and needs

Although my son didn’t know it, he needed new pillow cases and I wanted a quick sewing project !


masculine prints were needed- second from the left reminds me of sprocket wheels .

Happily, both could be satisfied with a trip to the fabric store and a good pillow case tutorial from Ashley over at Film in the Fridge.


I have used this tutorial before and I like it for it’s clear instructions and great results. The pillow cases have a nice cuff, a pop of detail in that trim and french seams so they don’t fray.


I didn’t pre-wash my fabrics so they look at bit roomy on the pillows here. I am expecting the cases to shrink up a bit.


That’s my finish for the week !

Thanks for having a look. Have a delightful weekend !

linking up with Amanda for Finish it up Friday.

Star light, star bright…

First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.


A few months ago I was at my local fabric store and noticed a beautiful batik. These fabrics really appeal to me but I rarely buy them. This fabric just had to come home with me so I bought half a meter ( 20 inches) – without a plan, of course. I knew I wouldn’t be making any thing large but eventually an idea formulated and a star was born !




I used the Missouri star quilt block tutorial by Jenny Doan. As promised it was very easy. I had just enough to add a bit of a border and voila… a 28″ square table topper/mini quilt.

I’ve been told that not all batiks are ‘real’ but I think this one is. There was the distinctly lovely scent of wax as I was pressing the fabric and the variation & depth of colour is quite special. The additional fabrics are from my stash and the binding is ‘pomegranate’ from Freespirit.


I backed it with a pink swirly fabric from my stash and did simple grid line quilting. The choice of thread colour may have been a mistake; I was in too much of a hurry to wait until my next trip ‘to the city’ so I just went with what I had on hand. Oh well, one of the pitfalls of quilting in the middle-of-nowhere.

That’s all the quilting news I have for this week but I do want to show you another picture:


Last week we had a surprise visitor from France !! Our friend Remi first came to our farm five years ago for a 5 month internship while he was studying agriculture in Lille, France. He really became a part of our family and it was so good to have him back – if only for a week !

Thanks for having a look !

I’ll be linking up with Amanda for Finish it up Friday.

A Bit Risky

Well, it’s been almost exactly a year since I finished designing this quilt top and I have just now finished the flimsy. By ‘designing’ I mean choosing and cutting the fabrics and deciding on a layout; not that it is my own original design. While at a fabric store I found 2 fabrics that I really liked and challenged myself to come up with a quilt design by picking random fabrics rather than using a collection of fabrics.  I’m not sure what to call this quilt – perhaps Trip Around the World ?


I had taken the 4.5″ squares off my design wall in rows and it was a bit of a mystery quilt reveal as I sewed the rows together a year later because I couldn’t remember which colour sequence I had settled with. That coral colour is quite hard to photograph; it looks much nicer in person. The quilt top measures 60″x 60″ and I have pieced together a backing and taken it off to be quilted. I’ve chosen two different threads for the top and bobbin which is unusual for me… and the top colour is a bit risky !  :-0  I hope it looks good.


Another finish I have to show you also started as a spontaneous fabric store purchase.


Awhile back they had a big one day sale at the fabric store and I purchased this whole pile of leather for $3.50 !! woot – woot, I felt like a thief !! ( the spool of thread is for scale )




basket measures 4.5″long x 3″wide x 1 5/8″tall

This little no-sew leather basket is made from a template found in Krista Fleckenstein’s book, “Beyond Cotton”. I obviously need more practice installing rivets and the proper tools would make it easier too ! I have this book out from the library but I will probably purchase my own copy. I really like the book.

Thanks for having a look, have a good weekend !

I’ll be linking up with Amanda for Finish it up Friday at CrazyMomQuilts.




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